Clean Water in Northern Afghanistan

In order to upgrade the water supply system and improve the quality of drinking water in Afghanistan’s northern towns, the German Government is supporting the development of essential infrastructure.


In Afghanistan’s provincial towns, less than 20% of residents have access to a mains water supply. Water is scarce and, in numerous areas, dirty and overexploited. Many of the country’s traditional shallow wells are drying up, yield brackish water or are contaminated with bacteria. This has adverse impacts on health, causing severe diarrhoea and other diseases, such as cholera, especially regarding children. When water is scarce, residents are reliant on public wells or have no option but to buy supplies at high prices from privately-operated tankers.


By developing and upgrading the urban water supply in Northern Afghanistan, the project aims to improve local livelihoods and reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases.

Measures & Results

The direct results of the construction works are impressive: in the city of Balkh (Balkh Province), more than 750 household connections and eight public standpipes have been set up, benefiting around 9,900 people. With the construction of wells and expansion of water storage capacities and distribution systems, the bases have been established for needs-based provision for around 36,000 people who now have access to a daily supply of around 40 litres of water per day.

In the town of Imām Ṣāhib (Kunduz Province), funding has been provided for a further 527 household connections and three public standpipes, giving more than 7,000 people access to clean drinking water. This means that some 45,000 people now have a daily supply of around 40 litres.

In Feyzabad (Badakhshan Province), construction of wells and reservoirs and mains installation will be completed in 2018. There are current plans to provide more than 1,700 household connections to supply around 17,000 people. On this basis, a clean water supply will be available to some 75,000 people in future.

A mains water supply and public standpipes in the three cities will improve local residents’ quality of life. Clean drinking water will make a substantial contribution to preventing and reducing the incidence of water-borne diseases. A reliable water supply is also expected to boost regional economic development.

With their focus on densely populated urban regions, the projects aim to reach as many people as possible. To date, the completed schemes have benefited around 96,000 Afghans. New water connections have been provided for an additional 22,000 people in Pul-e Khumri (Baghlan Province), 17,000 people in Tāloqān (Takhar Province), 90,000 in Khanabad (Kunduz Province) and 10,400 people in Mazar-e Sharif (Balkh Province).

In total, around 112,000 people in all the towns targeted by the project will benefit directly from the new infrastructure. Depending on future utilisation by local project partners, the infrastructure has the potential to provide an additional 400,000 people with drinking water, bringing the total figure up to 512,000 people. All the measures include development of new well fields and the construction of reservoirs, pumping stations and infrastructure to improve the water supply system. 

At a glance

Activities in the provinces of Balkh, Badakshan, Kunduz,Takhar, Baghlan.
Water supply in small and mid-sized northern towns (NC I + II)
Commissioned by:
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), Afghan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Cooperation (AUWSSC)
Implementing organisations:
KfW Development Bank
Badakshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Kunduz, Takhar
Programme objective:
Improve public health and livelihoods in small and mid-sized provincial towns.
Overall term:
2008 – 2018
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